California Gov. Gray Davis told a conference of 6,000 teachers and other educators Saturday that the state will provide $150 bonuses per student to every public school that improves its scores 5 percentile points on next spring's Stanford 9, the state's mandatory test used to gauge students' abilities in reading, math and language.
The state will also offer cash awards of $5,000 to 400 elementary and middle schools that win a reading contest, based not on performance but on the number of pages their students read.
Governor Davis said the incentives are additions to his package of educational reforms that has focused on setting high standards and applying extra resources, as well as possible sanctions, to schools that fail to meet them.
The two-day "Reading by 9" conference, sponsored by the Los Angeles Times, drew teachers and principals from throughout southern California to hear talks by Davis, Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, and Henry Cisneros, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development. In addition, there were teacher training workshops on reading and numerous booths with educational material for sale.
The governor won his warmest applause from the teachers when he announced the more than $100 million in new textbook and library funds, which he said should obviate the need for teachers to spend from their own pockets for instructional materials.
Nonetheless, they spent in droves at the conference, lugging out armfuls of phonics-based books and educational materials.
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